Thank you everyone for your positive comments to the first chapter of this story. Here is the next bit, which is a lot shorter, only 590 words, but again beta'd by the brilliantly patient mabel_marsters
Tara had guessed that Spike’s date was nothing more than a shield for him to protect his heart. So she headed to his home with assurance that he would, indeed, be there by himself.
As she approached she saw the door was ajar, but on peeping inside she saw, both the signs of the damage that had been inflicted ... as well as one very quiet man. Spike was sprawled on the chair, with some empty bottles scattered around him. He didn’t move as she slowly walked in, and even as Tara spoke his name, he didn’t respond.
Tara touched him on the shoulder, repeating his name as she increased the pressure of her grip.
“Spike. Come on, I know you’re awake at the very least. I need to talk to you.”
Still no response.
“Buffy needs help!”
She finally yelled at him, and was pleased to see his instinctive response, before he clenched his fists, screwed up his eyes and said, “Tell someone who cares.”
“Well, at least you’re letting me know that you’re alive.” Tara smiled softly, as she met his glare straight on.
“OK, undead. But, at least you are now listening to me, aren’t you?” Spike decided that maybe Tara was picking up the resolve look from her girlfriend, so struggled to sit up slightly, and tried to get his brain in gear.
“So, everything’s alright now?”
“Well, yes. Buffy killed the demon. The wedding didn’t take place, but it’s stopped raining.”
Spike just stared at Tara.
“Can you say that again?”
Tara responded with a laugh. “You heard right. The wedding didn’t go as planned, but no one was hurt, so that’s the main thing.”
Tara settled down on the arm of the chair, as she watched Spike struggle to take in the events of the last few hours.
“I presume your friend has gone home?”
Spike grinned at Tara. “What would you do if I said she was waiting downstairs for me?”
“I’d say she was silly to sit in the remains of a large bonfire.” Tara grinned back.
“OK, you got me there. But maybe she’s been and gone. After all we did leave the party a while ago.” Spike smirked.
“Yes, maybe she had to leave as you couldn’t ... mmm ... perform, after all that alcohol.” Tara blushed out her answer.
By now Spike had sobered enough to sit up and leer at his companion, “And what would you know about that?”
“Only what I read.”
Tara let Spike settle before returning to the reason for her visit.
“What are you doing tomorrow evening?”
“Oh, I’ll out and about,” Spike said. “Why’d you ask?”
“I was wondering if you would be able to go to The Bronze at about eight?”
When Spike didn’t reply, Tara asked him again, and added how important it was for him to be there. When she still received no answer, she tried one more time –
“Please, Spike. I’m not teasing you. It’s for a special reason that I’m asking you to be there. Will you come?”
“OK, I’ll pop in, but I’m not saying I’ll stay, so whatever you want me to do, you’d better be ready.”
“Fine. I’ll leave you to your beauty sleep, then.”
Tara patted his shoulder, before getting to her feet and making her way to the door.
“It’ll be fine, you’ll see,” she said, before slipping back out into the night, and back to tell Buffy that the message had been passed on.